Sam Wechsler competed in 2020 and appeared in the fourth season of Make48. Sam and his team InvenTROY are makers from Troy, New York. Sam, Adam, Dan and Anasha met at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG), a makerspace in upstate NY.
An engineer, Sam has his own product development business, and has recently built a specialized 3D printer that can print big and small. Will there be a time when, instead of going to a store to buy a piece of furniture, it can be 3D printed at home? Sam thinks so and has built a custom-made 3D printer for that purpose. Sam has a vision to manufacture big things locally in the United States, at a competitive price, and to bypass supply chain disruptions.
It took Sam about a year to develop the printer. It uses a pellet extruder to print with plastic pellets, typically used for injection molding, thus saving 60 to 90% in material cost compared to spools of filament. In recent years, 3D printing has made significant developments in sizes, applications and models. 3D printing can be seen in art & design, manufacturing, medicine, robots, etc. One of the points Sam touches on is having local makers building your furniture as an alternative to a big-chain store. “Picture 3D printing in America at your local hub (makerspace/fab lab). You can go and pick up your purchase or have it delivered to you. It could be an alternative to big-chain stores.” Printing using recycled materials and a shorter supply chain are additional benefits.
Sam used the printer to build a sled: “The Wagner Spray heat gun is handy for smoothing 3D prints, and I haven't seen anyone use it to bend large prints before, like in the sled video.”
How do we make 3D printing ubiquitous? And is that possible? Sam thinks he has an answer.
3D Printed Heart-Shaped Step Stool - with pellet extruder custom 3D printer
“That would cost about $10 a pound for the filament (Plastic). With pellets, you can save 60% of the cost right there. If you print with recycled materials, you can save probably more than 90% in regard to the cost. At that point, you can print chairs, tables, stools, and add competition to other products.” Sam is betting that his technology can compete with theirs. His estimated build time for a custom 3D printer is 45 hours, and ideally in the future, Sam would bring in a production team and streamline the process. Currently, Sam is selling products and the printers and is speaking with design schools. If you’re interested purchasing printers, furniture, signs, etc. connect with Sam at https://3dprintedchairs.com/
3D Printed Child’s Chair